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Photos: Dogs show emotions just like us

Last updated on: March 20, 2013 17:46 IST

Image: Boxer beauty
Photographs: Bernsen/ Wiki Commons

For dog owners who always tell you that their pet is almost human, now there is hard evidence that they may be right.

In tests humans were able to accurately read a dog's emotions just by looking at his face.

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Photos: Dogs show emotions just like us

Image: A German Shepherd waiting for someone to play with him.
Photographs: Lewis Collard/ Wiki Commons

Fifty volunteers were shown pictures of a five-year-old Belgian Shepherd police dog called Mal as he went through a range of emotions, triggered by praise, reprimands, a jack-in-the-box and even nail trimmers which he particularly liked.

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Photos: Dogs show emotions just like us

Image: A happy dog.
Photographs: Grashoofd/ Wiki Commons

88 percent of the volunteers were able to spot happiness - shown by Mal looking straight at the camera with his ears up and tongue out, the Daily Express reported.


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Photos: Dogs show emotions just like us

Image: It is easy to spot an angry dog.
Photographs: Stebunik/ Wiki Commons

Almost as easy to spot was anger - provoked by a man pretending to be a criminal - with 70 percent correctly interpret Mal's bared teeth.

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Photos: Dogs show emotions just like us

Image: Cat scares the dog!
Photographs: Peretz Partensky/ Wiki Commons

About 45 percent knew that Mal pricking his ears up and showing the whites of his eyes revealed fear while 37 percent knew that a mournful expression with downcast eyes showed sadness.

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Photos: Dogs show emotions just like us

Image: Golden Retriever
Photographs: MichaelMcPhee/ Wiki Commons

Less easy to read were surprise - shown by a frown - and disgust - revealed by flattened ears.

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Photos: Dogs show emotions just like us

Image: A potcake puppy
Photographs: Danml283/ Wiki Commons

In the tests people with minimal experience of dogs were better at reading canine disgust and anger than dog owners.

This suggests that understanding dogs may come naturally rather than being learned.

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Photos: Dogs show emotions just like us


Photographs: Nannarella/ Wiki Commons

"There is no doubt that humans have the ability to recognise emotional states in other humans and accurately read other humans' facial expressions," Researcher leader Dr Tina Bloom of Walden University in Minnesota said.

"We have shown that humans are also able to accurately - if not perfectly - identify at least one dog's facial expressions," she said.

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Photos: Dogs show emotions just like us

Image: A Neapolitan Mastiff
Photographs: Tim Dawson/ Wiki Commons

Surrey-based animal psychologist Dr Roger Mugford said the faces of dogs are much easier to read than those of other animals such as cats or horses.

He said tests have shown that even people from cultures which do not have pet dogs can correctly read their faces.

The findings are published in the journal Behavioural Processes.

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Source: ANI